In Volume 3 of Hana & Hina After School, Hana and Hina face a growing distance between them manufactured out of their mutual desire to avoid their feelings for one another. Nonetheless, we’re probably not all that concerned about it, and the story just sort of coasts along from small crisis to confrontation to confession and finally conclusion.
Because we’re not really concerned at whether the principals will get together – it’s pretty much assumed that they will – it’s more or less how they’ll get there that is what we’re reading.
In my review of the Japanese volume, I noted that it’s extraordinary for a Morinaga Milk Yuri manga story to address any real-life issues. I wrote:
“In Kisses, Sighs and Cherry Blossoms Pink, Hitomi merely fantasizes about a future in which she and Nana are adults and can be together. In GIRL FRIENDS (Volume 1 and Volume 2) Morinaga-sensei took a step outside the isolation of a “couple in love” and gave Akiko and Mari friends…friends who accepted them and their relationship. In the very end, Mari even gave some thought to the issues of coming out to parents and what school and work might think…in the future.”
And that’s about all we get. In this volume we touch briefly on the concept of same-sex marriage at the very end and, in a roundabout way we see the possible awakening of same-sex interest in classmate Takagi, although it’s somewhat disappeared by the translation. My memory of the original has her saying something like, “I think I’m like that, too…” rather than “I want to do that, too.” Of course I could be wrong – and I could have been wrong originally, as well. I’m not motivated to go find Volume 3 to find out. ^_^ The rest of the technicals are top notch, as always. I just remember this particular scene as bing a “whoa!”moment for Hina’s classmate.
So brief touches on the realities of a life after getting together is all we’ve gotten and all we’re likely to get, but I still hope that one day, Morinaga-sensei writes something that goes beyond Story A. (Wouldn’t it be nice if in a future girl-meets-girl manga, we see a grown up Nana and Hitomi (or Hina and Hana they are mostly interchangable, so it hardly matters) who are there to help the main characters through their first-love-crisis-du-jour? I kinda think it might.
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Service – 6
Yuri – 8
Overall – 8
3 volumes was just the right length for this series. I think Morinaga-sensei is at her best when she has time to work through the “zOMG we’re in love” crisis, without having to rush it or drag it out.